When hate takes over – Monday, 3rd Week in ordinary time – Mark 3:22-30
While great multitudes have been following Jesus, Our Lord has been facing rejection from people of his own home town and among his own relatives. Either out of concern for their own family name or out of genuine concern for Jesus, they come to restrain him (3:21) for they heard people say that “he has gone out of his mind.” Sin
When an acquaintance misunderstands you, the sting is felt but when someone you love dearly, someone close to your heart; a relative or best friend misunderstands you, then that rips your heart out. Much before Our Lord felt the 39 lashes or the nails that tore through his hands and feet, he felt the pain of rejection. In all of this, it is Jesus who is understanding, Jesus who is patient and Jesus who loves. The text of today is a case in point.
We are told that scribes have come down from Jerusalem. They have already had a difference of opinion with Jesus (Mark 2:6). They question his methodology of ministry (2: 16) when he eats with sinners. The scribes would by now be well aware of the Pharisees and the Herodians who had plotted to destroy Jesus. Enemies, make strange bed fellows!
So far, their angst with Jesus was merely a muttering in their heart (2:6) and a clarification sought (2:16) but in today’s Gospel they have given up tiptoeing around egg shells and lay their rancor out in the open, “He has Beelzebub and by the rulers of demons he casts out demons.” (3:22). To read about who Beelzebub is, go to https://www.pottypadre.com/rejection-abounds-monday-3rd-week-in-ordinary-time-mark-322-30/
I have seen this method of hate being employed so often. Shoot any and every accusation, even a bizarre one in the air and hope that something gets shot and dies. Of all the accusations they threw at Jesus, this was by far the most ridiculous. But then again think of those who dislike you immensely; it is they that throw the most ridiculous accusations knowing that popular opinion might get seized up in the moment and fiction becomes truth.
Our Lord could have called brimstone from heaven and burnt his accusers to cinder. Instead, he opens a channel of discussion. He is not negotiating terms of peace so that he may issue some sort of ‘apology’ and fall in line with mainstream rabbinic behaviour; rather he sits down to reason with his detractors. We are told, “he called them to him, and spoke to them in parables.” It is as if Our Lord has taken the level of discussion to the simplest stages of communication rather than throw lofty theology at them and make them feel like novices that rolled out of a small-town synagogue. There is sensitivity in his approach and great love in his communication. This was not a lecture that he gave but a reasoning in the faith.
Yet his teaching, practical and logical, has indeed a caveat. While one is free to express one’s views, the framework of those views must be respectful. One can’t give into any lose talk without the consequences that come with it. Those who hold constitutional posts in our nation or are appointed to high office can be disagreed with but false accusations and name calling can have you spend some rather uncomfortable nights in prison.
Swept away by their personal dislike for our Lord, the scribes have blasphemed against the Holy Spirt. It is the Holy Spirit that dwelt in Our Lord. Hate had blinded the scribes and now forgiveness will be deprived to them forever.
There is a lesson for us in this; when we find ourselves consumed by hate and anger, we simply give vent to words that slip between our lips. Apologies, no matter how sincerely expressed, cannot mend a broken heart.